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My husband won’t watch Game of Thrones because he can’t stand the British accent, and by British he means British, Irish, and Scottish. Seriously. What kind of stupid reason is that? Everybody loves the British accent. He also is of the opinion when there is nudity on a TV show or movie, it is to get the male attention because it doesn’t have anything to offer. He’s kind of right, nudity is often used because of a lack of plot, characterization and other elements that give fiction substance.

 

But Game of Thrones the HBO series has it all: intrigue, cool dragons, terrific settings and costuming, intense characters, characters you admire, characters you worry about — which is stupid because they are after all make believe — characters you love to hate, and best of all sex and violence.

 

Oh yes, my husband is missing out on a really good TV series.

 

I on the other hand like the series so much, I decided to read the books. Not being much of a SciFi/Fantasy reader these are not the type of books I would normally choose. Personally, I am always looking for a good psychological thriller, like Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I like fiction that really gets into people’s heads which means written in first person among other things. So I rarely read the SciFi/Fantasy genre because of that and I’m too much of a realist to care about space aliens at war with vampires and space dragons. You know, crap like that.

 

Another reason, I decided to read Mr. Martin’s Game of Thrones series is to better understand what was going on in the show. After the first season, many of the relationships were unclear and reading the book did clarify certain details that by their very nature would be difficult to put into the TV drama. So far, the HBO series aligned with the books fairly well.

 

Even though the HBO series is excellent, my recommendation would be to not read the books unless you really love that type genre. There are several problems with Martin’s series that drive me up a friggin’ wall.

 

One of the problems is he has no compunction killing off key characters who are the good guys like Eddard Stark, later his wife, and oldest son. I’m just waiting for him to kill off Sansa and Arya, one of the dragons (that would be horrible), or my favorite Tyrion. He also kills off much too soon the characters we love to hate like Joffrey and Ramsey.

 

Another issue is that Martin has named every single character in the series of books of approximately 1000+ pages each. He has named characters even if their only purpose is to further the story along by being in one scene never to be heard from again. Worse, he names everything from kingdoms, horses, castles, ships, establishments, and even swords. He goes way overboard with the naming thing.

 

Every time I come upon a new name and realize this character will never been seen or written about again, my mind wanders from the story and I try to think how this author managed to conjured up all these names. Off the top of your head, can you come up with a thousand names? And how does he keep track of the names? Does he have a wall in his house dedicated to names and places in the book? Or does he use Excel to keep the names straight? I’m thinking if he is able to keep track of all those names in his head, this man has to be completely insane. Like maybe he should be writing in a padded cell.

 

Last, there is the problem of the long summers and long winters. I guess this story takes place on a planet very much like earth except that seasons last up to ten years. How is this even remotely possible? So I looked up some possible explanations which include the planet has some kind of weird wobble or maybe an elongated orbit. I was wondering if it actually orbited a red giant or something. But my explanation about the seasons is that George R. R. Martin is able to keep so many names in his head he doesn’t have room for physical science – not that a fantasy book is supposed to be scientific.

My husband won’t watch Game of Thrones because he can’t stand the British accent, and by British he means British, Irish, and Scottish. Seriously. What kind of stupid reason is that? Everybody loves the British accent. He also is of the opinion when there is nudity on a TV show or movie, it is to get the male attention because it doesn’t have anything to offer. He’s kind of right, nudity is often used because of a lack of plot, characterization and other elements that give fiction substance.

But Game of Thrones the HBO series has it all: intrigue, cool dragons, terrific settings and costuming, intense characters, characters you admire, characters you worry about — which is stupid because they are after all make believe — characters you love to hate, and best of all sex and violence.

Oh yes, my husband is missing out on a really good TV series.

I on the other hand like the series so much, I decided to read the books. Not being much of a SciFi/Fantasy reader these are not the type of books I would normally choose. Personally, I am always looking for a good psychological thriller, like Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I like fiction that really gets into people’s heads which means written in first person among other things. So I rarely read the SciFi/Fantasy genre because of that and I’m too much of a realist to care about space aliens at war with vampires and space dragons. You know, crap like that.

Another reason, I decided to read Mr. Martin’s Game of Thrones series is to better understand what was going on in the show. After the first season, many of the relationships were unclear and reading the book did clarify certain details that by their very nature would be difficult to put into the TV drama. So far, the HBO series aligned with the books fairly well.

Even though the HBO series is excellent, my recommendation would be to not read the books unless you really love that type genre. There are several problems with Martin’s series that drive me up a friggin’ wall.

One of the problems is he has no compunction killing off key characters who are the good guys like Eddard Stark, later his wife, and oldest son. I’m just waiting for him to kill off Sansa and Arya, one of the dragons (that would be horrible), or my favorite Tyrion. He also kills off much too soon the characters we love to hate like Joffrey and Ramsey.

Another issue is that Martin has named every single character in the series of books of approximately 1000+ pages each. He has named characters even if their only purpose is to further the story along by being in one scene never to be heard from again. Worse, he names everything from kingdoms, horses, castles, ships, establishments, and even swords. He goes way overboard with the naming thing.

Every time I come upon a new name and realize this character will never been seen or written about again, my mind wanders from the story and I try to think how this author managed to conjured up all these names. Off the top of your head, can you come up with a thousand names? And how does he keep track of the names? Does he have a wall in his house dedicated to names and places in the book? Or does he use Excel to keep the names straight? I’m thinking if he is able to keep track of all those names in his head, this man has to be completely insane. Like maybe he should be writing in a padded cell.

Last, there is the problem of the long summers and long winters. I guess this story takes place on a planet very much like earth except that seasons last up to ten years. How is this even remotely possible? So I looked up some possible explanations which include the planet has some kind of weird wobble or maybe an elongated orbit. I was wondering if it actually orbited a red giant or something. But my explanation about the seasons is that George R. R. Martin is able to keep so many names in his head he doesn’t have room for physical science – not that a fantasy book is supposed to be scientific.

I really enjoyed this book. Four stars out of five for sure. So I could go on and on about the virtues: good read, somewhat suspenseful, interesting main character, and art appreciation woven into the story.

One problem with the writing was sometimes the author/editors  put commas in the wrong place or misused pronouns. So you would be reading along gripped by the story and come to a sentence that was totally unclear and be like, “What?!” Then you would have to reread it a few times to understand what she was trying to say interrupting the whole flow. That happened maybe 3 or 5 times throughout the book. Okay, no big deal.

Another problem was the age of the main characters didn’t seem realistic. They seemed a lot older than the age the author gave them, so there was a bit of believability issue. Also the author seemed to be trying way too hard to be all literary and create a theme about honesty. Those readers who care about themes can come up with them by themselves — the author doesn’t need to shove a theme in the reader’s face. That’s kind of what it felt like at times.

The end was rather anti-climatic. It ended fine but was predictable with no real surprises. So if reading a suspense thriller is riding a raft down the river knowing rapids are up ahead, Unbecoming gave us a swift thrill down the river without the rapids.

This book was worth what I paid for it: Nothing. It was a freebie. You know, there’s a reason publishers give away books for free. I thought the reason was because it was the first in a series. So you would read the first one and get hooked and read the rest. Boy was I wrong.

Addison Holmes, the main character is supposed to be the southern version of Stephanie Plum in the ever so famous and funny books by Janet Evanovich, which should have ended at book number five, but that’s a different review.

Here’s the problem, Addison Holmes isn’t funny and the book wasn’t the least bit interesting. I was trying to compare the two authors’ styles and trying to figure out why Evanovich sings and Hart sucks. The main difference that I can see is the Stephanie Plum series offers colorful characters, while Addison Holmes is the colorful character in an “I Love Lucy” fuck-up sort of way. Stephanie Plum just naturally finds herself in crazy situations; Addison Holmes situations were completely contrived.

If you’re looking for a light mystery and a fun romp, Evanovich provides a much better read.

If you’re looking for a thriller look someplace else.

There is a rule I abide by in order to not have hundreds of unread books lying around the house. The rule is if I buy a book I have to read it. Her was advertised as a thriller with lots of terrific reviews. This book was no thriller, it was the opposite of thriller it was a bore-er. My life is boring enough, I don’t want to read a book about somebody’s else’s humdrum days of picking up after children, doing dishes, trying to get baby to sleep — oops, those were spoilers and there’s another one coming.

Okay a good thriller is like being on a boat flowing down the river, and the river takes control of the boat and keeps rushing faster until you get to the rapids and barely eke through the danger to a calm in the water and a satisfactory conclusion. Here’s what Her was: a stagnant pool with an occasional ripple giving the reader hope of something more to come only to find more algae growth.

Spoiler Alert! The book ended exactly as I predicted. Here’s a clue: child and a swimming pool. Hmm, I wonder what’s going to happen. Of course, in typical literary fashion the ending is up in the air for the reader to decide and ponder. This book was a huge disappoint, and not worth the time or the $12.99 plus tax spent on it.

I once heard that when a movie claims it is based on true events, perhaps only 1% of the movie is true like perhaps the overall concept.  So that was what I expected from Compliance that it would take a real incident and twist it into something perverse and distorted.  The true event was perverse and distorted enough that a realistic portrayal of events was disturbing enough to last for a few days after viewing the film.

Compliance sure gives the viewer something to think about.  All during the movie, I was thinking that would never happen to me, I am certainly sophisticated enough to not be deceived by a prank caller pretending to be a cop.  Even if I was initially deceived, when it came to the strip search I would have said enough.  I would have called the station on another phone to see what was going on.  I would have questioned the scenario.  But maybe I shouldn’t be so hoity-toity, just because I wouldn’t be fooled in that specific type of scenario doesn’t mean I could never be fooled.

Haven’t we all complied to authority or peer-pressure, even when it goes against our good judgement or morality?  Hasn’t a boss asked us to something even as minor as working late when we had other family/friend commitments?  Some of us have had bosses who demanded we behave unethically by lying to customers or cutting corners etc.  So, you know, just because we think we have the good sense to stop something cruel and twisted, do we really — or have we never been confronted with the situation?

Good movie.  Very believable characters.  Must see preferably with someone you can discuss the whole thing over while having coffee, cake and a little ice cream.

Aye-yi-yi.

One of these days I’m going to make a list of movies that will cure insomnia, and Margin Call will be on the top of the list.  Talk about a nothing movie that was absolutely pointless.  Wow, it was kind of like watching a film of yourself at work.  How exciting is that?

Slow paced, boring, Margin Call may not be the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but tops the list for most boring.  No characterization, no plot, lifeless dialogue.  Watching it was   kind of like actually being at the job.  There were no characters to care about, they were all one dimensional, no surprises.  The so-called crisis that was going to crash the business and then the whole economy just didn’t make sense.  The movie was boring enough, they should have went ahead and fully explained the tedious details of how the company went wrong.  It was like we know what happens the economy crashes so let it crash already.

Nevertheless, Margin Call could become a natural cure for insomnia, instead of a sleeping pill try and stay awake through this film.

 

Was Bad Teacher a bad movie?  Yeah, kind of, but it was a lot of fun and not terribly heart-warming.  Thank God.  For some reason, I wanted to see the film really bad, I think the previews made the movie seem like something I would like.  And, you know, it was predictable and fun, and enjoyable, but not great, but I didn’t have great expectations for a movie like Bad Teacher.

Ted was better than Bad Teacher. Ted was funnier, less predictable and Mila Kunis got to portray somebody really pretty, normal, and sweet instead of pretty and conceited like she played in That 70’s Show, or pretty and seductive as she played in Black Swan or pretty ugly like her character is portrayed in Family Guy.

But the movie I liked best was Tower Heist with Ben Stiller, who did not disappoint. Yeah, heists are always good since I want to pull one off someday.  I’m waiting until I’m 80 so that if I get caught and have to go to prison for the rest of my life I won’t have to be there very long.  What’s more at 80 I can act all senile and stuff, who would suspect an 80 year old woman pulling off a heist?  Nobody, right?  There you go.  Besides if I got caught,  prison would serve as the old age home and Medicare rolled into one.

If perchance I didn’t get caught, being the honest person I am, would have to give it back.  Can you imagine the embarrassment of the institution that was heisted by a half-senile old woman? Oh well, 80 is a long way off, so in the meantime I’ll just keep watching movies.

The problem with the movie Abduction was the premise didn’t make sense.  The only unpredictable element of the film was it turned out to be a thriller.  For some stupid reason, like maybe I didn’t read the synopsis, I thought the film was going to take a serious look at the issue of an adopted teenager learning that he had actually been kidnapped as a child.

Nope.  This movie was some kind of spy thriller, that didn’t have too many spies, and very few thrills.  The main character boy was a child of spies and his mother got killed when he was quite young.  The father had his colleague spies adopt the boy and raise him to keep him safe. So when the boy turned into a teenager, he happened upon a phoney abduction website put there by the bad guys to find the kid.  Why?  Because there was an encoded list that the boy’s father acquired and if the bad guys get the boy, then they can use him for leverage to get the list. Except, the list was only acquired two days earlier, yet the adoptive spies were hiding him for 16 years for this very purpose.  Come on.

The movie had the usual twists and turns you expect in a thriller.  Ho-hum.  That the was problem all the twists and turns were the same ol’, same ol’.  A good thriller keeps you gripped and guessing, Abduction did none of that.

Maybe Adam Sandler should consider retiring when he has two huge losers like Jack and Jill — possibly the worst movie ever made — and That’s My Boy vying for second worse.  Bad, bad, bad.  So bad, I didn’t bother watching to the bitter end.  And I’ve suffered all the way through the some bad, bad movies.

Granted, Sandler movies are not intellectual heavy weights, noted for their nuance and deeper meanings.  Sandler is good at delivering heart-felt fun, a combination of gross toilet humor with a sweet message to learn and grow from.  That’s it. 

If I described the plots of Jack and Jill and That’s My Boy, they would sound like typical Sandler…and yet the only thing both films delivered were yawns.   Seriously, I fell asleep during Jack and Jill only to wake up disappointed that the movie wasn’t yet over.  Even Al Pacino — Al Pacino! — couldn’t breathe life into the movie.  Jack and Jill was like a celebrity cameo and product placement parade.  The only bright spot was a 20 second bit with Johnny Depp.  Sandler needs to play off other actors.  Casting himself to play his twin sister was a mistake.  A big mistake…because see he couldn’t play off himself because he was playing himself.

The only redeeming feature about That’s My Boy is that the film didn’t put me to sleep. Confession,  I fast forwarded during some of the boring parts.  Adam Sandler needs to do more movies like 50 First Dates, that movie has the best ending in the world.  I have seen that flick a 100 times and it never gets old.  Well, kind of old, cuz I’m starting to learn all the lines.  At any rate, if you’re in the mood for an Adam Sandler movie you better stick to his earlier stuff, because I think his day in the sun is over.